WAVE Belfast staff visit PRONI Offices

19th January 2018

On 16th January some of WAVE’s Belfast staff attended the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) for a tour of the facility and a talk on the archives available. It was a fascinating insight into our shared past and the wealth of information which illuminates our social, cultural and political history. PRONI staff were very knowledgeable and helpful in detailing the content of the archives from street directories and maps to official government communications and privately donated correspondence.

PRONI also hold a large collection of conflict related records including court and inquest files, which are accessible upon application but subject to restrictions under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Court Files Privileged Access Rules (2016). These records are of particular relevance to WAVE members who are seeking information about their own injuries or bereavements.

It was also encouraging to learn that PRONI continue to work closely with other agencies and organisations to expand the collection, endeavoring to make as much information possible accessible to the public.

Michelle Anderson commented on the visit “As someone who works closely with a number of clients who have been traumatised by their past, I found it fascinating to visit PRONI, not only to discover what exactly my clients are going through to uncover what may have happened to their relatives or loved ones, but gave me a sense of the frustrations they can face and left me in a better position to advice and empathize. 

I also found it personally interesting to find out how far back one can look to discover who they are, where they come from and unearth facts about themselves or their homes that they may not know. 

The staff at PRONI appear to fully understand the difficulties looking back to the past for answers can be (in reference to our client base) therefore; to realise they are a keen as we are for answers was invaluable to me and can only serve to increase my understanding for our clients and struggles they may be facing.”

Ana Assal said of the visit “A visit to the Public Record Office NorthernIreland (PRONI) in January gave us a great overview in the nature of records and files being archived. PRONI staff members Graham and Matt facilitated a tour around the building and shared information about the archive and research of family history and local history. As PRONI also holds conflict related records, it was particularly interesting for us to gain an insight about the nature of archived conflict related records such as court records and inquest papers with some being accessible on application. PRONI staff members are welcoming and very helpful with enquiries and research.”

If you would like some assistance in trying to access records or gain more information about an incident or bereavement, please contact WAVE on 02890 779922.